Friday, June 30, 2017

Grant Family Newsletter - June 2017

Hi family!

Ollie and I had a fun visit to Utah this month. We were really sad Jared couldn't join us. We went to St. George for a family reunion and it was really fun to see cousins I hadn't seen in five years since before we moved to Orlando. The rest of the time was spent in SLC visiting family members, eating at favorite places (Cafe Rio, Zupas, Shivers), and enjoying watching Ollie bask in all the attention from doting aunts and uncles. We are on the countdown for baby boy #2 to arrive in mid-August. We are excited to meet him! Jared still loves his job and is finding a balance of church, work, and home. I am really grateful for all he does. Ollie is so fun. He loves dinosaurs, trucks, trains, and being outside. However, this pregnant lady doesn't enjoy being outside in the Orlando summer, so we are finding some compromises.


Jared, Carly, & Ollie 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A guiding gift for your and my children

I recently read the General Conference talk by Sister Mary R. Durham titled, "A Child's Guiding Gift."  With expecting another baby boy and thinking about all the temptations my boys will face in their life, I have felt a little burdened.  This talk was an answer to prayer and has really comforted me and given me hope.  This gospel just makes so much sense!  Of course our loving Heavenly Father would only send us into this world full of dangers, distractions, and lures of the devil with a gift..a guiding gift...a a gift that will guide us back to Him.

Sister Durham shared a story about a father who was drowning.  He realized his shoes were making the situation worse, and he was able to kick them off and rise to the surface of the water.

She then states, "How do we follow the example of this father and kick off some of the weight of the world we carry, so we can keep our children’s heads and our own worried minds above the water? How can we, as Paul counseled, “lay aside every weight”?2 How can we prepare our children for the day when they can no longer cling to us and our testimonies—when they are the ones swimming?

An answer comes when we recognize this divine source of strength. It is a source often underestimated, yet it can be used daily to lighten our load and guide our precious children. That source is the guiding gift of the Holy Ghost."

Children have a natural desire to do good and to be good. We can feel their innocence, their purity. They also have a great sensitivity to the still, small voice.

How do we as parents increase the spiritual capacity of our little ones? How do we teach them to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit when we are not with them and they are alone in the deep waters of their lives?"

First, we can bring to our children’s attention when they are hearing and feeling the Spirit.
Samuel in the Old Testament did not recognize the voice of the Lord until Eli pointed it out to him and helped him recognize it.  Samuel was "feeling, recognizing, and hearkening" to the voice, "but didn't start to understand until Eli facilitated this recognition.  And having been taught, Samuel could become more familiar with the still, small voice."

*Jared and I need to help our children recognize when they are feeling the Spirit.  What the Spirit feels like, sounds like, that it comes in moments of peace, quietness, and when we are making good choices and being obedient.  They won't know what they are feeling until it's taught and pointed out to them.  Jared and I can share personal experiences of how we feel the Spirit and how we know we are feeling the Spirit.

Second, we can prepare our homes and our children to feel the still, small voice.
“Many teachers of foreign languages believe that children learn a language best in ‘immersion programs,’ in which they are surrounded by other speakers of the language and called upon to speak it themselves. They learn not just to say words, but to speak fluently and even to think in the new language. The [best] ‘immersion’ setting for a spiritual education is in the home, where spiritual principles can form the basis for daily living.”6

“Thou shalt teach [the Lord’s words] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”7 Immersing our families in the Spirit will keep our children’s hearts open to His influence."
*There is no better place for our children to feel the Spirit than in our home.  They will feel it at church, sporadically at school and other places, but they will feel it the most at home.  I need to keep my home clean, orderly, filled with pictures on the walls of Christ and his doctrines, filled with consistent, daily gospel teachings, and with love.  By creating this environment, the Spirit will be more present in our home and our children will have more opportunities to feel and recognize it.

Third, we can help our children understand how the Spirit speaks to them. 
"One mother discovered that since children learn differently—some learn visually, auditorily, tactilely, or kinesthetically—the more she observed her children, the more she realized that the Holy Ghost teaches her children in ways they each learn best.9
Another mother shared an experience of helping her children learn to recognize the Spirit. “Sometimes,” she wrote, “[children] don’t realize that a recurring thought, a feeling of comfort after they cry, or remembering something at just the right time are all ways that the Holy Ghost communicates [with them].” She continues, “I’m teaching my [children] to focus on what they feel [and act on it].”10
Feeling and recognizing the Spirit will bring spiritual capacity into our children’s lives, and the voice they come to know will become clearer and clearer to them. It will be as Elder Richard G. Scott said: “As you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see or hear.”11
*One time a missionary in our ward bore her testimony and said something that has always stuck with me, "It takes time to understand the language of the Spirit and how it communicates with us."  For me, over time, I have learned that the Spirit speaks best to me when I am reading my scriptures or pondering after I pray.  My most opportune times for this are in the morning before my son is awake (or during his nap).  My mind is fresh, I'm not overwhelmed with responsibilities yet, I am calm, and I am better able to recognize the Spirit.  Throughout the day I have received promptings that come in the form of a thought, or a warm, reassuring feeling that a doctrine I hear is true, or that a service I'm performing the Lord is pleased with.  Our children won't know until they are taught--that they are feeling the Spirit when they feel a warm fuzzy feeling, may start to cry, feel a good feeling in their chest, have a desire to do good, and feel peace and joy.  It is our responsibility as parents--especially as mothers--to teach this to our children.  Our children will then become, as Elder Scott stated, more confident in the impressions they feel than their dependence on what they hear or see.  They will become more certain on what the Spirit is teaching them than on their dependence of their senses!  That is amazing.

I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost.  It is what will help me, my husband, and our children return to Heavenly Father.  What a precious gift!